— The end of another television season is upon us, and as the recent network upfronts serve to remind us, the next season isn’t too far away. But long before all of those returning TV staples and new efforts wedge their way into our weekly viewing habits, there’s an unpleasant task to be taken care of — clearing out the DVR.
Usually by this time of year, old episodes of now-ending series and ongoing recording schedules have maxed out the machines that make our boob-tube lives manageable. Now it’s time to decide which of those programs are worth the precious gigabytes they occupy and which ones could be easily passed up in favor of more entertaining prime-time picks.
Surely some of those past favorites have lost their luster over the last season. Loyal viewers might try to ignore the signs — pools of water, skis, sharks — but let’s face it. There’s no show immune to making that jump. And the sooner those DVR disappointments are out the way, the better for our future TV fun.
Delete, unsubscribe and forget they ever existed
Some one-time winners turned losers may still stand a chance if next season sees a complete turnaround, but others seem too far gone to find salvation. In the case of the latter, there’s only one thing to do: Delete!
After all, does a show like “House” really deserve another chance considering that the roller coaster of story lines have hit far more dips than inclines recently? No. The fact that fans invested years in a lovably unlovable character only to have him say and do things he’d never have done before (except for operating on himself — he would have totally done that before) and get bogged down in constant relationship drama just makes the cut all that much easier.
Speaking of relationship drama, it’s time to pull the DVR plug on “Grey’s Anatomy,” too. Now that every conceivable character hookup is out of the way, there’s just no need to tune in. Want another reason to give “Grey’s” the heave-ho? Just rewatch the cringe-worthy musical episode from earlier this season, if you haven’t already deleted it. Shark jumped.
Don’t stop there. Clearing out two once-adored medical dramas won’t free up a whole DVR. Want to really clear out some room? Just take a look at the crime dramas in your queue.
From “Bones” and “Criminal Minds” to “CSI” (Miami, New York and the original recipe), there are plenty of reasons to say enough is enough. One universal reason is that they’re all guilty of getting stale. A formula can be a good thing for any show, but stick to it too strictly — as these have — and even new episodes feel like repeats. Been there, done that ... for a whole lot of seasons.
Age and repetition aren’t the only reasons to dismiss a program as little more than a DVR distraction. Sometimes a show can lose the magic after just a season or two. That’s what happened to “Glee.” After a strong start, the at-first likable characters underwent seemingly random personality makeovers. With their personalities went their appeal.
Of course, DVR deletion isn’t just for scripted shows. A few reality TV offerings are just begging to get booted from the recorded roundup.
Starting with “American Idol.” Yes, it’s still a ratings powerhouse, and it survived the absence of two-thirds of the original judges just fine. But after this season, it’s hard to imagine getting wrapped up in the musical “shock and awe” series. One or two unexpected ousters are de rigueur when weeding through a talent pool. Enduring a season full of jaw droppers and out-of-nowhere eliminations, as “Idol” fans recently have, is just too much.
And while we’re wiping out reality shows, “Survivor” has really got to go, too. Like so many other long-in-the-tooth productions (though few are quite as long as “Survivor’s” 24 seasons), there’s just nothing left for viewers to look forward to. Locations, themes and even players repeat season after season.
No worries! The networks took care of it
For other shows, the process has been streamlined. Feel free to nuke any old episodes lingering on the DVR, but don’t waste time canceling your auto-record settings for the following programs. The networks took care of it by canceling the productions.
“Brothers & Sisters” could have topped any list of must-delete TV, but a fifth-season mercy cut took care of it. It seems the powers that be finally realized what viewers had already picked up on: There are only so many times you can reveal that a character has a secret half-sibling before it just seems ridiculous.
Another aptly axed show is freshman series “$#*! My Dad Says.” Anyone who set their DVRs to grab this one hoping for a taste of the humor they came to appreciate on the Twitter account that inspired the show was no doubt disappointed by the time “Dad” hit mid-season.
Those network bigwigs also did the DVR crowd a favor by cleaning up the crime scenes that were “Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” “Law & Order: Los Angeles” and “Lie to Me.” Each of the procedurals (with the exception of “LA”) once marked TV time well spent, but in the end “Criminal Intent” needed more shake-ups and “Lie to Me” needed fewer.
Record with caution
Not every series that’s lost its way deserves DVR deletion. For a few, it seems safe to record with caution. For instance, every other season of “Desperate Housewives” could make the cut list, but then the soapy appeal just draws fans back in the next time around. If this season’s outrageous behavior was too much, just wait and see.
The same just-to-be-safe approach should be taken with the upcoming revamped returns of “The Office” and “Two and a Half Men.” Strong ensembles could keep up interest in both shows, as could the right replacements for the leading roles. But if the ensemble charm falls apart or casting choices go wrong, it’s never too late to free up a little more DVR space.
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